Friday, December 27, 2013
Christmas 2013 A new beginning. A baby born into a world where he did not belong. How can a baby be doomed or destined to a world that could not tolerate or accept the core of who he was? For the core of the baby was perfect obedience to his father's will. This core of obedience was so foreign to the fallen world that it threatened the most powerful conventions of the times. The ultimate convention was for human beings to make laws, conventions and structures according to their own understandings of the knowledge of good and evil. On Christmas one baby came who would never be pulled into the deadly tides of human understanding. On Christmas so many of us get gifts we don't want. Somehow we think that there is something wrong with Christmas. Now we know how the Pharisees felt. Jesus was indeed first unwanted Christmas present. More than a thousand years of prophecy and the expectations of an oppressed people made the arrival of the Messiah as anticipated as winning the Super Bowl, the Presidential election and the newest and biggest war on the same week. The problem for the Pharisees, the other Jewish leaders and the nation as a whole was that the tiny and vulnerable baby was never meant to satisfy our earthly fantasies. The baby was and has always been the way back to a time and a place that predates our very first human fantasy. The Jesus baby was and is the way back to Eden, God's domain. Are we like the Pharisee who asked how a man could be reborn? Must we crawl back inside our mothers' wombs? Are we like the Pharisee, wondering how we could ever enter the garden of Eden while we are aware of the deadly curse inside us? "On the day you eat of it, you shall surely die." The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil runs through our veins, our hearts, our minds and our souls. Apart from the baby Jesus it is blasphemous to even contemplate entrance to God's domain. We are by our nature profane to God. As the Jesus baby grows and more perfectly expresses God's perfect will, he starts a spiritual civil war. That part of us knows we were always meant for the garden embraces him and his miracles as if we are starving people savoring the most delicious meal. The other part, the part that embraces our autonomy of choice and actions recoils at the the audacity of God's trespass into the human domain. We scream that God should go back to heaven, because he knows nothing of earth, nothing of the ways that we humans count good and evil. We stay in this civil war until the best of us, the religious scholars, the political leaders and the ruling class nail the baby to the cross. Then the curse is fulfilled. The curse that runs through our blood, the knowledge of good and evil, convicts and executes Jesus Christ the son of God. When we can't send Jesus back to heaven we send him to hell. For three days we go about our religious ceremonies grieving or exalting in the work of the curse. Then on the third day the baby rises from the grave bearing the wounds of the nails and the spear. The curse has killed, but God has overcome the curse. The curse that runs in our veins and poisons our hearts toward God is powerless against the risen and inoculated Christ. The blood of the lamb cuts through the obscenities of a society manically working to hide the redeeming work of God with feasts, gifts, ceremonies and tradition. For those who believe/have faith the light shines brightly and the lamb leads us to the green pastures despised by the curse. The Christian's gift, made possible through the blood of the lamb, is our ability to seek and accept God's perfect will in our life.